ANN Service JORABAT, Jan 12 - In a travesty of tall claims made by the State government vis-a-vis the health sector, the Hahara Mini Primary Health Centre (PHC) under Sonapur revenue circle located just about 30 km from the Assam Secretariat at Dispur, is running in a most pathetic condition. It is afflicted with many ‘ills’.One such malady is that patients are brought to this PHC for treatment in handcarts or other modes of primitive transport, but in no case, by ambulance. The reason is, the only ambulance at the disposal of the hospital has remained out of order for quite a long time.
A patient being brought to the Hahara Mini Primary Health Centre in a handcart. – Photo: Jorabat ANN Service
The health scenario of Assam can well be imagined if one sees the condition of this mini-PHC. It has no beds for patients and is being run by two officially posted doctors, a pharmacist, a GNM, an ANM, a lab technician, a vaccinator and a Grade IV employee. A sweeper, a night watchman and a driver are engaged on contractual basis.
In a very recent incident, a patient named Budheshwar Basumatari, a resident of Hahara near Sonapur, who was brought to the health centre in a handcart, was left unattended by the doctors due to nonavailability of medicines for high blood pressure.
Many a time it’s not doctors or nurses but unskilled people like watchmen who are seen carrying out first aid treatment on patients.
It has been learnt that the ambulance is not in working condition for the last two months just because of its battery, which could be replaced by spending only about Rs 9,000.
When asked about the ‘ills’ afflicting the hospital, Dr Nijara Das, in-charge of the centre, said, “Things have come to this stage due to non-availability of funds. With the fund we receive our first priority is to pay salaries to the contractual employees. The amount that is left after that is then utilised for other purposes. But it is not adequate.”
Commenting on a recent instance of the night watchman carrying out first aid treatment on a patient, Dr Das clarified that he had not been directed to do so by any of the officials and “we were not aware that he was applying first aid to the patient as we were busy with other works at the centre”.
Dr Das also revealed that she and other staff members of the hospital stay in a rented house as the staff quarters provided by the department are in a deplorable condition without even the basic facilities like water and electricity. Meanwhile, the watchman of the centre Bichitra Das said that he had been taught to conduct first aid treatment by the doctors.
When contacted, Joint Director of Health Dr Ganesh Saikia said such issues should be resolved by the centre itself and no special funds are provided to resolve them.
Dr Saikia also assured that remedial measures would be taken soon. “We have also stationed two ambulances at the Sonapur Civil Hospital and people can avail their services in such situations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jatindra Nath Deka, president of Dimoria AASU unit said the government should look into the matter seriously. He said the health scenario in the State’s interior areas could well be imagined from the pathetic condition of the Hahara PHC, which is just a few kilometres from the State’s capital city. Incidentally, this is the only health centre catering to the medical needs of people of 10 civic wards.